Great seating at a concert could come from the right kind of presale password - or not

You might think that with a presale password you will certainly get tickets that are close to the action, maybe on the floor near the stage – maybe even in the front row.

Think again

Up and far away is where some presales will put your seating

The view from “up in the nosebleeds”

The idea of a presale is to get your tickets before the general public, not necessarily to get better seats, but to avoid being completely frozen out by tickets selling out completely.

What we have found over many years is that a certain kinds of presale can give you great seating and access, while for some other presales always seem to look like the 3rd tier inventory that promoters just want to unload as fast as possible on unsuspecting fans.

We have no proof of this – just a lot of onsales and presales over the years and many reports from fans and brokers as to which kind of presale seems to draw from the better pool of tickets.

So which presale type gives you the best access to tickets?

Let’s begin with the presale that’s most likely to give you really good access to tickets: The Fanclub Presale where each fanclub member gets their own unique code (codes that can’t be shared on sites like this).

There are a number of reasons why this kind of presale will give you good seating, but it mostly boils down to one thing: limited competition.

There are only so many fanclub members, and only so many of them are going to want tickets for one show – but a good size block of tickets will be reserved to try and keep them happy.

That could mean that hundreds or even a thousand people in a major city might be trying to buy tickets during a fanclub presale. Compare that with the tens of thousands who might be trying to buy tickets during a venue newsletter presale, or if Ellen shares a Justin Bieber presale password on her show – everyone ends up with that password and tens of thousands of people are all fighting to get presale tickets.

The limited competition of the fanclub presale gives real fans the edge – there are fewer brokers trying for tickets, and far fewer moms and dads hoping that they can buy tickets for their kids.

Whats the worst kind of presale for seating location?

As strange as it may seem – American Express is often the worst option during a presale. They have multiple kids of cards and different “levels” of access during their presales, we cover them in a bit more details here.


Red curtain — red curtain hand pulling back

So for theatre events Amex is usually the best – especially for Broadway shows where Telecharge is selling tickets. In the past Amex cardmembers have been given access to seats in the first ten rows – even though those tickets are “premium” seating and the producer is already charging a higher rate for them. Front Row Mezzanine, Front Row Balcony – these are often made available during an Amex presale, provided you have the platinum or centurion card, or the phone number for customer service at least 😉

But for stadium shows it’s a little trickier – in some cases if you search for Amex tickets you find a ring of seats around the Middle (200/300) level and some on the floor in the back half. This is puzzling to some people: Why would the promoter assign American Express not so great blocks of seating? While we can’t be certain, we have a working theory which can probably be extended to ALL presales, possibly including fanclub presales and that is as follows:

If people are desperate for tickets they are more likely to buy the first tickets that are available, even if those tickets are farther away from the stage.
During a presale where there is limited inventory being sold and strong demand it can be very easy for a promoter to push inventory that is farther from the stage – thus saving the easier to sell premium seating for the general public onsale.

Nobody wants to miss out on tickets completely and if you are told that you’d better buy the presale instead of waiting for the onsale it means that the onsale can hold better tickets and better inventory so that others who might not accept 200 level or back of the floor won’t have to – they can squabble over the good seats that weren’t sold during the presale.

This does NOT happen in every case – we’ve seen venue newsletter presale codes unlock front row center, but rarely and not at all recently 🙁

Live Nation - Presales and Access

The bottom line: Livenation knows how to suck as much money as possible out of each attendee to their concerts, holding back good tickets until the rabid demand of the presale is over seems like just another way to make selling every seat in the house that much easier.